EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland coach Frank Hadden has made seven changes for his team’s final Six Nations championship match against France in Paris on Saturday.
Centre Andrew Henderson, wing Nikki Walker, scrumhalf Rory Lawson, hooker Ross Ford and number eight Johnnie Beattie all come into the team.
There are two positional changes with Chris Paterson moving from wing to fullback in place of the injured Hugo Southwell while Rob Dewey migrates from inside to outside centre.
Scotland’s backline has been criticised for tending to crab across the field but Hadden believes his selection will address the problem.
“These are four big and powerful guys who can ask questions of any backline. We think they have a formidable presence,” Hadden told reporters.
“These players are now bigger, fitter and more experienced and I think they can take a more direct route to the gain line whether from set pieces or broken play.”
On Lawson’s selection ahead of Chris Cusiter, who starts on the bench, Hadden seemed to indicate it was about having a serious look at the scrumhalf.
“Rory has been getting opportunities at Gloucester to take his game to a higher level. Since he came on to the Scotland bench he has had few opportunities. We think he’s up to it. We also think that his game management is sound,” Hadden said.
It is a similar theme in the forward changes, hooker Doug Hall giving way so Hadden can assess the powerfully built Ford.
“Ross has been unfortunate. He picked up an injury last summer and was then cited just before the autumn tests. But I stress that there is no dissatisfaction with Dougie,” the coach said.
Scotland beat France at Murrayfield in last year’s Six Nations but their only victory in the 2007 championship has been a 21-9 win over bottom team Wales.
Hadden, however, was confident his side could provide an upset over the championship-chasing French.
“We’ve picked a team to win. We will go over to Paris believing we can win the game,” he said.
Scotland: 15-Chris Paterson (captain); 14-Sean Lamont, 13-Rob Dewey, 12-Andrew Henderson, 11-Nikki Walker; 10-Dan Parks, 9-Rory Lawson; 8-Johnnie Beattie, 7-Kelly Brown, 6-Simon Taylor, 5-Scott Murray, 4-Nathan Hines, 3-Euan Murray, 2-Ross Ford, 1-Gavin Kerr.
Replacements: 16-Doug Hall, 17-Allan Jacobsen, 18-Jim Hamilton, 19-Allister Hogg 20-Chris Cusiter, 21-Marcus Di Rollo, 22-Rory Lamont